Optimized topological surgery for unfolding 3D meshes

Shigeo Takahashi*, Hsiang Yun Wu, Seow Hui Saw, Chun-Cheng Lin, Hsu Chun Yen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Constructing a 3D papercraft model from its unfolding has been fun for both children and adults since we can reproduce virtual 3D models in the real world. However, facilitating the papercraft construction process is still a challenging problem, especially when the shape of the input model is complex in the sense that it has large variation in its surface curvature. This paper presents a new heuristic approach to unfolding 3D triangular meshes without any shape distortions, so that we can construct the 3D papercraft models through simple atomic operations for gluing boundary edges around the 2D unfoldings. Our approach is inspired by the concept of topological surgery, where the appearance of boundary edges of the unfolded closed surface can be encoded using a symbolic representation. To fully simplify the papercraft construction process, we developed a genetic-based algorithm for unfolding the 3D mesh into a single connected patch in general, while optimizing the usage of the paper sheet and balance in the shape of that patch. Several examples together with user studies are included to demonstrate that the proposed approach works well for a broad range of 3D triangular meshes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2077-2086
Number of pages10
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011

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